April 9, 1925 was the night of the (first) seder and also the night my mother was born!
This year David and I were privileged to be at the first seder led by our son in Mitzpe Ramon. It was an evening of great joy and satisfaction because more than any other holiday Pesach (Passover) stresses the importance of passing on our traditions from one generation to the next. I watched as my son worked hard at making the seder an enjoyable lesson as well as a showcase for his kids to show off what they had prepared in school and kindergarten. How well I remember the first time I recited 'ma nishtana' (in Hebrew and Yiddish, so actually I was the only one who didn't really understand what I was saying). So, now I have participated in seders led by my grandfathers and my father and prepared by my mother, seders of our own doing here in Israel and now we have the joy of seeing our traditions passed on and enhanced by our own children. It is a great 'nachess' moment.
My mother's generation, born in the freedom of the US was faced with the challenge carrying on the traditions of their parents (see here) and taking advantage of the opportunities that America offered. I am proud that my mom was able to do both, and do them both well! Growing up in the difficult years of the great depression she took family responsibility seriously and worked and studied hard all her life. She was determined that we keep our traditions and learn as much about them as possible. She and my father whose 10th yahtzeit we marked erev Pesach were determined that both my brother and I get the best Jewish education. I am very grateful that they didn't listen to the 'wisdom' that it important to give the day school education to the boy, but the girl didn't really need...
In my mom's honor I would like to answer TrilCat's niece's Bat Mitzva project survey
When did you start lighting candles for the Sabbath?I think when I was about three, I started making the blessing over the candles with my mom. We always lit the candles together and sang the bracha out loud.
What made you start lighting them?She noticed that I would mimic her by putting something on my head and covering my eyes. She began to sing the bracha out loud (to the tune used for lighting the chanuka candles).
Do you light candles every week? If so, what makes you keep lighting them each week?Yes, I light candles every week. It is my earliest connection with Judaism and the one I identify with most.
Do you have any special traditions related to lighting the candles (e.g., my husband always gets them ready, I cover my hair, etc.)? If so, what?I always put a scarf on when I lit candles, even as a little girl. My mother told me that candle lighting time was a special moment for connecting to God and should be used for important wishes.
How do you feel after you have lit the candles?I usually feel tired and happy to have reached Shabbat once again.
Are you the first generation in your family that lights candles for the Sabbath?No, I am part of a long chain of Jewish women who lit and light candles for Shabbat.
Do you have any memories to share from previous generations?My father's mother did not cover her eyes when she lit candles she blocked her sight of the flames by spreading her fingers the way the cohen (priest) does for the blessings. Her father was a cohen.
Is it important for you that your daughters light candles for the Sabbath?Of course.
How meaningful do you feel it is to you to light candles for the Sabbath and why?All mitzvot are meaningful because they represent the way we practice and apply the laws we have from the Torah. Lighting the candles mark the end of the preparations for the Shabbat the culmination of the six days we have worked and the beginning of the day when we remember and mark Hashem's resting, looking around, taking stock and pride in what he created and hope to be worthy of it all.